6 Ways Anyone Can Decorate A Halloween Dessert

Lately, I’ve been battling migraines.  I don’t know why all of a sudden I’m getting them, after not having them for awhile.   So I’ve got recipes lined up, I can’t wait to share but for today I’m still under the weather, I decided I would share different ways I found online on how to decorate Halloween treats, that anyone can do.
Decorating can be lots of fun, which is something I love doing.  Not everyone has amazing decorating skills, so I wanted to share with you different ways you can have great looking desserts with minimal efforts.  Showing you that even a novice can create amazing looking treats.  Below are 6 Ways Anyone Can Decorate A Halloween Dessert:

1. Using Oreos and M & M’s as eyeballs all over @ Monster Eye Cake

Super easy Monster Eye Cake for Halloween | by Carrie Sellman for TheCakeBlog.com

2. Using candies to create a scene @ Linus Great Graham Pumpkin Patch

easy halloween dessert, halloween treats for kids, halloween party ideas for kids, great pumpkin charlie brown party, linus pumpkin patch

3.  googly eyes make everything better @ The Idea Room
Halloween-cookies

4.  play with your food @ Fork & Beans
Silly Apple Bites

5. fruit roll ups are a must needed supply @ Betty Crocker
Fruit Roll-Ups™ Jack-o'-Lanterns on a Stick

6. healthy is just as sweet @ Frugal Coupon Living
orange-jack-o-lantern-fruit-bowls-frugal-coupon-living
**all images are taken from the site I got the idea from.**

What are your favorite ways to eat your Halloween treats?

 

3 Ingredient Apple Spice Snack Cake

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Having apple cravings for this time of the year is great, because it’s one of the things we have an abundance of.   After work today, I finally had to time to make a delicious snack cake that I’ve been meaning to make, my 3 Ingredient Apple Spice Snack Cake.  This cake is as delicious as it sounds and only take minutes to make.  Plus it smells up your whole house with the fantastic fall aromas.  As my boy opened the door, the smell hit him and he was so excited to find out what made the awesome smell.  It’s a recipe to keep on days you want some fall comfort with little efforts.  It’s my go to for a snack cake or a crumb it up as an apple spice crisp & serve it with ice cream.  Either way, your family will thank you by gobbling it all up.

3 Ingredient Apple Spice Snack Cake
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Ingredients:
*4-5 apples sliced (depending on the size of pan used.)
*1 pumpkin spice cake mix
*3/4c butter melted (1/2c left dry spots that didn’t cook so I add a little more butter and it works out well.)

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350.  Grease bottom of pan.
*Place apples on the bottom of pan, cover completely with sliced apples.
*Sprinkle cake mix over apples covering completely.  I used a smaller cake pan the 2nd time around so the cake was a little thicker.
*Spread the melted butter over the cake mix covering as much area as you can.  Any dry areas should cook when apples release their juices.  If not the last 5 minutes of cooking pull cake out add a tiny bit of water and cook for 5 minutes.
*Place pan in oven and cook for 45-50 minutes depending on your oven & pan.
*Take out and let cool for 15 minutes or so.
*Then slice & enjoy.   Or crumbling up and serve it with ice cream.

What a favorite apple treat/dessert in your house?

Easy Apple-Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Looking around the house this morning, I was trying to come up with a recipe that was easy to make, had everything on hand,  & had minimal prep & cook time.  When I found a can of pumpkin, an apple, & a package of crescent rolls I knew cinnamon rolls were in our near future.
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These are great on cooler days, since they fill up your house with cinnamon goodness with a hint of apple & pumpkin.   Good old fall smells, gotta love it.  You can’t have fall recipes without apples & pumpkin.
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These were made  after our girl scout meeting.  I was tired  so having an easy treat was great.  If you don’t know by now, I’m an easy gal who likes simple rustic recipes, which is what most of my recipes are.  No 20 ingredient recipe that takes hours to make.  Simpler the better for this lady.

Easy Apple-Pumpkin Mini Cinnamon Rolls
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Ingredients:
*1 pkg. crescent roll
*1/2 apple diced
*1/2 can of pumpkin
*1 tsp cinnamon
*sugar (just a sprinkle)

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350.
*Roll out crescent roll sheet, keep the rolls attached making it one big sheet instead of individual crescents.  Make sure once you open the entire sheet you connect the dots so nothing leaks out.  This will take a few mins to do.
*Spread out the pumpkin in a an even layer across entire sheet.
*Spread out the apples all the way down the sheet but don’t over stuff them.
*Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar (if desired)
*Roll up the sheet, into 1 big roll.
*Cut rolls whatever size you desire.
*Place on cookie sheet and cook 10-12 mins.
*Take out & let cool for 15 mins.  Then they are ready to eat.
~Enjoy~

Do you have a favorite cinnamon roll flavor?  What other variations would you make?

Rustic Pumpkin Pie W/ Coconut Cream Topping

One of the biggest & best things I love doing in fall is eating all the delicious foods. I can’t seem to get enough, hence why I decided to this as my 31 day series. This year I’ve changed how I eat and I would like to continue with eating healthier food. But there will be days, that this won’t apply to. My month of recipes with be a mix, old & new, healthy & not, unique & common (with a twist of course), home made or semi etc.

pumpkin pie

This image isn’t good, I didn’t have much time to take one tonight. Don’t judge this recipe by the image.

Today’s recipe is one that I have been meaning to make but never got around to it.  Well today is the day.  I loved the pie but only half the kiddos like it since it wasn’t sweet.  They were expecting something with lot of sugar in it like blueberry pie.   I love the taste of this pie but if you’re looking for something a little sweeter either use sweetened coconut or add a little bit of sugar.  But if your like me who love pumpkin and coconut but not a huge sugar fan, you’ll love this recipe.  Another great thing about this recipe, was the crust I used.  I loved how the granola tasted with the coconut and pumpkin.  Such a great combo!

Rustic Pumpkin Pie W/ Coconut Cream Topping
adapted from: Cynthia Presser
serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of puree pumpkin
  • 1 premade crust ( I used a granola one)
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (7 oz) unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • In a food processor add the pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, & half of the milk.  Mix well.
  • Pour pumpkin mix into pie crust and spread out.  It will fill most of the crust so don’t worry.
  • Mix the remaining milk with the coconut.  Mix well.
  • Pour over pumpkin mix in the crust and spread out.
  • Bake @ 350 for 20-30 mins
  • Take out of oven let cool for 15 mins.  Then transfer to fridge to let cool for a hr or two.
  • Slice when ready to eat.

~Enjoy~

31 days series Intro: Eating My Way Through Fall

31 days series
Tomorrow is October 1st, which means that the 31 days series will begin.  This event is a popular blogging event that over a thousand bloggers take part in.  This year, I’m excited to be joining the crew of wonderful blogging working our way through our chosen theme.  I thought awhile about the different topics I could do and finally came up with a fun topic.  My theme for this event is “Eating My Way Through Fall”.
Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love cooler nights, warm comfort food, sitting around the fire, delicious desserts…….. Since food is a big part of our lives and fall, what better way to celebrate than than eating, exploring different textures, flavors, &  combinations.  Starting tomorrow, I will be adding a new delicious recipe for you guys to try.  Join me every day for the next 31 days to see what  new recipes I have for you….some new….some old,….some unique….but all delicious.  Be sure to follow along with my blog by bookmarking this page or signing up for email updates.

31 days series thumbtackAre you doing your own 31 days series?  What’s your theme?  Leave me a comment so I can follow along.  Any suggestions on what types of recipes you would like to see?  


Sharing with:
Katherine’s Corner, Kenarry, Lambertslately, Live Laugh Rowe,

 

 

Frugal Foodie Pt.1

With Christmas around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to start my Frugal Foodie 3 part posts.  The original post is really long, so I divided it into 3 posts to make it more reader friendly.  If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you the following day.

A little while back, I was asked from a non-profit in town to teach a workshop about how people can eat healthy on any budget.  They knew I was the Queen of Frugalness.  What I didn’t know when I agreed, was that I would have to make up the entire 3hr. workshop.  This is the 1st time that I ever taught anything, I never speak in front of anyone because I hate it, and I have a hard time focusing on one idea.  My mind runs away with hundreds of ideas each day.  But I did it, and did it with great success.  The place loved what I did so much, they asked if I would run a 5 wk. group doing the same thing, except this time I extended the topic to include numerous ways to be frugal and live below your means, and having fun with it.  I made up the entire program myself and again had great success.  That’s when I thought, why not do an online version of my group, in hopes of reaching a lot more people, helping and encouraging one another, and learning new things together.  If anyone out there is interested please let me know.

Frugal Foodies is about creatively living within your means, with frugal tips, ideas, projects etc.  I want to give you fresh ideas, explore common ideas deeper, tools to help you with your frugal journey, and additional resources for when you need it.

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Frugal Foodie: Shop Smart, Eat Well

Intro:

What is eating well/healthy eating mean?

Ask people: What does healthy eating mean to you?  What’s your definition?  Then go on to the definitions below.

Eating well means:

For some people, eating well means opting for local ingredients over anything flown in from thousands of miles away; for others, it means eating only unprocessed foods, including lard and raw milk. http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/what-does-eating-well-really-mean

Healthy eating means:

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/healthyeat

Healthy eating consists of consuming the types and quantities of foods that offer an ideal balance between nutrition and energy to support childhood growth as well as adult metabolism. This involves choosing foods with more of the health-promoting vitamins and minerals and less of the detrimental fats, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. Achieving healthy eating habits is as simple as defining them, as all you must do is fulfilling your body’s needs at your stage of life.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/396464-definition-of-healthy-eating/#ixzz2O1DjDOXx

Growing up, most of us learned about foods and what to eat or what not to eat according to the USDA.  The pyramid is no longer widely used, instead more and more professionals as well as everyday people are using a new diagram called: the Healthy Eating Plate.  Below I am comparing the old pyramids to the new plate for you to see the differences.

As you can see the set-up is completely different than what most of used are used to.  Things are changed around which makes a completely new chart.  No longer are they recommending 6-11 servings of grains, breads, cereal, or rice instead they are recommending to eat brown rice, whole-wheat bread and whole wheat grains.  Instead of recommending 2-3 servings of dairy, now they are recommending to cut out down to 1-2 servings a day, if any.  Instead of using oils sparingly, now they are recommending to use healthy oils more but to limit butter intake.  That we shouldn’t use margarine instead use real butter, which is healthier for us.  And the last big change is meats (proteins) went from 2-3 servings to the most intake on the plate design recommending limiting red meat to a few servings a week but eating more chicken and seafood.  What do you think of the new food charts?  Which one do you feel is healthier?  Why?

Briefly talk about diets:

Before you can start to save on your groceries, you need to figure out which diet or which kinds of food you want to feed your family.  Whether it’s traditional, whole foods, low fat, Paleo, gluten free and/or dairy free, vegetarian, or a combo of a few, you need to identify your diet or the diet you feel is best for your family.  This needs to be done before you can go any further.  Otherwise, meal planning can come difficult, and when things get difficult, people tend to fall back on old habits (junk food).  Once you figure out what your diet plan is, you can begin to learn different ways that you can save you time and money.  As well as eating healthier foods with your budget.

Today’s Topic: eating healthier on any budget/saving money on your grocery bill

*NOTE-Before we get started I wanted to say that any tip or suggestion that I will be sharing can be used on any budget along with all the different types you can pay for your food.  It doesn’t matter if you are using cash, food stamps, credit cards, or anything else.   The tips are universal, they will work with it all.*

What is a reasonable food budget?

Everyone’s idea of a reasonable budget is different.  In this room, if we ask around, not one person would have the exact same answer.  The State of NH says that for a family of 4 a thrifty plan is $554.40, a low-cost plan is $706.40, a moderate plan is $873.00, & a liberal plan is $1080.30 per month.  I personally, was shocked at how high their numbers were.  Think about you budget and where you are compared to the figures above.  For example, for my family of 7 we are just above the thrifty plan, which is $640 for a 4 week month.  When I tell other what we spend, usually people can’t believe what I spend and how many people it feeds, especially having 2 teens in the house.  And my budget of $640 isn’t just for food, it’s my weekly gas money as well as any beauty care or anything else money needed during the week.  We aren’t uncomfortable; we actually eat very well, a lot healthier than before because we had to cut out any processed foods due to my health.  This has been a real eye opener for us.  There are so many myths about eating healthy, organic, gluten free that I have thought and found which stands in the way of the real truth about eating healthy.  A few myths are: eating healthy is too expensive, which only the rich or people well off can afford.  That’s not true.  Another one is: it is too time consuming to shop at more than one store and my store in town doesn’t offer much of what I am looking for.  That’s untrue.  And my last one is: there are no coupons or sales for healthy foods.  Like the other two, that isn’t true.

to be continued……..

True Friend

Today’s post is short and sweet since I am still not feeling well.

Never underestimate the power of a true friend.  During my road to recovery & my weight loss journey, my true friends have been one of the greatest blessings for me. They are my muscles when I am weak.  They are my motivation when I’ve lost mine.  Within each of us, lies the power to heal or to hurt, to make or break, to be true or to be fake.  Remember the old saying, ” you are who you surround yourself with.”  What kind of friend are you?  What kind of people do you surround yourself with?

5 Tips For Living With A Chronic Illness

**This is late because I’ve been sick on and off for a few days now.  I thought I would address this in my series, since my illness is the whole reason I began my weight loss journey.  And it’s the reason why I have limitations on what I can do to lose my weight.**

Quotes Picture: do not give up, the beginning is always the hardest keep moving forward!!

If you meet me in real life, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I am sick and live with a chronic illness.  You wouldn’t be able to see how I struggle some days, to do the simplest of tasks because of my illness.  How bending over to pick up my kitchen floor, is so painful, I have to have my children do it for me.  Or when I can’t move other than from the bathroom to couch and back, because the pain is uncontrollable.  How for the longest time, my life revolved my throw up bouts which lasted weeks on end (throw up bouts-I get sick a lot and puke sometimes everyday for a few weeks at a time) because who wants to throw up anywhere but their own home?  No, I don’t look sick on the outside, but looks can be deceiving.  Unless someone knows me, they don’t know how my days are a struggle because of my chronic illness in some shape or form.  I stopped complaining for two reasons: 1. no one wants to hear me complain every single day of my life……..talk about depressing and 2. this is my life, this is what I have been dealt with……..it’s a part of who I am today.  Sure, sometimes it gets the better of me and I start to feel sorry for myself and cry  like when I am out in public and I get my stomach pains from a flair up, which is similar to Chrone’s disease, and I literally run to the bathroom where I explode.  Usually, I have my 2 little ones in tow.

Unless you have a chronic illness, or have a close loved one who does, it’s hard to understand what people like me go through on a daily basis.  The last few days have been hard for me because I’m having a flair up, but life keeps moving, whether you’re sick or not.  Even when I am in the trenches, with little hope, grasping to whatever I can to keep me up, I always try to move forwards, no matter how small my steps are.  It’s a hard road to travel on, but it’s one that I am grateful for, since it showed me the way to living a healthier lifestyle.  Along the way, I have discovered a few things, that has made my travels a little easier.  Below are 5 tips or mental notes to help others out there like me.

 

5 Tips For Living With A Chronic Illness:

*Accept the situation & yourself for what it is-

Once you accept that this is your life, you will be able to move on.  For the longest time, I fought that this was how my life would be.  I was determined to get my old life back before I was sick, which made things worse for me.  Once, I realized that this is how it’s going to be, I was able to move on and learn ways to cope with my illness so I could start reliving my life.  This step took me awhile, so don’t expect overnight realization.  My aha moment was when I thought I was going to die.  Sitting in the hospital all alone thinking about leaving my 5 kids and hubby, really woke me up.  I felt like I was given a 2nd chance, and no matter what my limitations are, I am still alive living a healthier happier life with my family.  And I try to live each day to the fullest because I know just how precious and short life really is.

*Figure out ways to cope with your illness-

This is an ongoing learning experience.  There will always be things to learn that will make my life easier.  When I 1st got sick, I was determined to keep up with everything as if I wasn’t sick.  Once I accepted my situation for what it was, I was able to figure out ways to help me get things done like simple chores.  For the longest time, I couldn’t bend down much if at all.  I couldn’t lift and do my normal household duties.  So, my children had to step up and help me.  To this day, there is still a lot I can’t do, but my children do it without complaining because they know I physically can not.

*Your not alone-

No matter how alone we feel at any given moment, there are others out there going through the same situation you are.  If you are looking to interact with others who also suffer from chronic illnesses, look to local and/or online support groups.  For me personally, since my illness is rare and no one has it here in the states, I went overseas to find a support group.  There was a small inactive one.  So I broadened my perimeters and found a support group that was more general.  There are others out there, you just need to find them.

 

*Take care of your whole self (mind, body, & spirit)-

It’s important to take care of our whole self, especially if you suffer with a chronic illness.  Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating properly and exercising, it’s about taking proper care of your mind, body, & spirit.  Do what you feel is right, to take care of yourself, & never apologize for it.

 

*Simplify your life-

The simpler our life is, the easier and happier to seems to be.  Or at least that’s how it is for me.  Over the last year or so, I have been trying to simplify all areas of my life.  I began by cutting out the negativity that surrounded me including my self talk (which was a game changer on its own), decluttering my house, & putting memories & experiences in its place.

 

Living with a chronic illness is challenging but it isn’t the end of the world, unless you let it.  We are stronger than we think, and don’t know how strong we are till we are put into challenging situations.  Life is what we make of it, so make it a good one.

I would love for others to add other helpful tips & ideas.  🙂

 

Linked with:

What Is Skinny Fat

I always thought that just because I was thin, that I was healthy.  I didn’t need to work out or eat right because I was thin, that’s all that mattered.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I was the perfect example of the term “Skinny Fat.”  Have you heard this term before?  It is defined as ” that a person may be skinny in appearance, however their BODY FATpercentage (24% to 39% seems to be the general range) is very high by medical and health standards. You may fit into a size two but do you still jiggle without Spanx?”

This misconception is one that I wished I addressed before I got sick.  It’s sad that it took me getting sick to get set on the correct path.  But it is what it is.  All I can do now is educate my family, hoping they don’t follow my unhealthy path to sickness.

Below are 10 Tips to Help Cure Your Skinny Fat-

  1. Eat a Low-Glycemic Load DIET — Lean animal protein (chicken, fish, and eggs), nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, fruit, and small amounts of non-gluten grains.
  2. Power Up with Protein — Start the day with protein and at each meal. This makes your metabolism run hotter and cuts hunger. Incorporate eggs, PROTEIN SHAKES, nuts, seeds, chicken, or fish.
  3. Don’t Drink Your Calories — No sodas, juices, sweetened drinks and no more than 3-4 glasses of wine or alcohol a week with meals.
  4. Avoid the Deadly White Powder or Flour — Including gluten-free flour products. Even whole grain flour acts like sugar in your body.
  5. Beware of Frankenfood — Factory-made foods are often science projects with fake ingredients including MSG (which causes ravenous hunger and is hidden as “natural flavoring”), high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, and chemicals.
  6. Eat From the Right Plant — If it was made in a plant stay away, if it was grown on a plant it is probably okay.
  7. Get an OIL CHANGE — Eat omega-3 fat-rich foods including sardines and wild salmon and avoid REFINED and processed vegetable oils except olive oil.
  8. Get Going and Get Strong — Both cardio and strength training are key. Cardio builds fitness and IMPROVES metabolism, and strength training BUILDS MUSCLE so you won’t be a skinny fat person.
  9. Take Supplements — They grease the wheels of your metabolism and help BURN CALORIES and balance blood sugar. A good multivitamin, fish oil (EPA/DHA,) and vitamin D do the trick for 95 percent of people.
  10. Protect Sleep Time — Sleep deprivation alters metabolism and increases cravings for carbs and sugar. Sleep is sacred. Make your bedroom a sleeping temple and stay there for 7 to 8 hours a night

taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/skinny-fat_b_1799797.html

Resources:

http://theintel.barrysbootcamp.com/2013/01/what-is-skinny-fat-and-how-to-avoid-it/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/skinny-fat_b_1799797.html

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/why-being-skinny-doesn-t-mean-you-re-fit

 

Unique Money Saving Tip

Unique Money Saving Tip #1-Use An Unusual Inexpensive Ingredient

save-money1.blog_.parkcommunity
Saving money is a topic I know well.  But it hasn’t always been that way.
In the beginning when I was on my own as a single mom, 19 yrs. old no friends or family around to help, I had to figure out how to make ends meet or else we wouldn’t be able to eat-no food.  There were times, more so than I like to admit, that the only food I ate was what ever the kids left on their plates.  I never wanted my children to go without because they needed it more than I did.  No one should have to eat & live that way.  But to be honest, I was absolutely terrible with money.  This was my reality for a long time.  Things kept getting tighter and tighter and I never saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  My life was this way till I finally decided I didn’t want to live like this anymore.  The only way to change my life, was to learn everything I could about saving money.
Fast forwards to today……………………………………I am one frugalista, that’s for sure.  If there is a good deal, I will find it, you can be sure of that.  No, I don’t ever DUMPSTER dive or do anything embarrassing like the people on tv do.  There would be no way in HELL that I would do that.  If there are people out there that want to do that all the power to them.  I personally choose not to do that in order to save money.
Side note that I wanted to share:
Every time I get a good deal, I make it a point to share it with all my 5 kiddos, not so they will be impressed with me (but that is always nice to hear) but so they will grow up knowing how to score a good deal.  As well as knowing the value of money and what you can do with just a little, if you choose too.  It doesn’t need to cost you a fortune to support your family, only if you allow it too.  I wouldn’t want them to ever have to live as I did way back in the day.  As long as I am around, they would never need to.  This also shows them that you can have a good life, even if you don’t make a lot.  Having a joyful life doesn’t solely depend on having lots of money.Having a large family of 7, in today’s expensive society, is a huge challenge.  So for all the families out there doing it everyday with a family as large as mine or bigger, my hats off to you.  I know just how hard it is to have healthy meals on the table with minimal expense.  Because of my frugalness, it’s one of the main reasons I am able to stay home.  I am able to make a little stretch a lot.  We are comfortable now, which has been a long time coming.  Why are we doing as well as we are?  Because of 2 things:  Jason’s hard work & all that he does AND because my hard work taking care of the house, kids, & scoring the amazing deals that I do.  Like scoring a free CSA for 17 weeks saving $824.00 (family size share).  It’s a team effort, and we make one hell of a team, if I do say so myself!Over the course of this month (which I am hoping to continue with after the month is over), I will be talking about budgeting, couponing, meal planning, saving $ by EATING HEALTHY, freezer cooking as well as other topics.  To be honest, there are so many sites that talk about all of the above, that I don’t feel the need to go into detail and repeat what they already wrote.  Instead, I will be sharing how I put it all together, making it work for my large family of 7.
Tonight, I wanted to start with you one of my best tips that I ever came up with.  I kinda stumbled upon this and developed it into a workable tip that would fit any family no matter the DIET or the size of your family.
So, you want to know what is one of my secret tip is for saving money with groceries????????

Tip #1- Use An Unusual Inexpensive Ingredient & Highlight It
**Now before you say anything, I know sometimes ethnic foods can cost a bit of money.  And I know people want to eat in season, but if you hear me out, this tip may help a little with your grocery budget.**Years ago, when I lived in a Spanish community, everything was different than what I was used to, especially the food.  I was interested in how they spent a little and made a ton of food, delicious yummy food.  So, I would always watch, listen, and take it all in.  When I was finally on my own, I remembered how little they spent for their amazing meals.  That’s when I decided to try my hand at making some Spanish foods.  Nothing came out and I stopped trying anything.
Years later, we are living in our house and I have a massive kitchen. I knew it was time to try my idea about different ethnic cultures and their foods.  Once again I started with Spanish foods.  Instead of trying to mimic all the dinners that I used to see being made, I decided to pick a food and based my meal around that.  I went out in search of cheap ingredient ideas and that’s when I came across the cheapest ingredient, but wasn’t sure how to cook with it other than frying it.  With a little research I came numerous ideas I was ready to start working with them.  I found 2 ingredients that weren’t common to people where I live and even so, the items where rather cheap to work.  And behold, my tip was born**Start by researching different cultures that feed their families on much less than we do.  For example, I picked Dominican foods to start simply because that’s what I was used to from living in a Spanish community.  If you have never been exposed to any other cultures quickly look online for help. The next foods I plan on trying out, will be from Africa.  I love how they use their greens such as collards, among other things.  Now, if you want to just eat in season, then this tip isn’t for you.  But if you want to experiment a little and save money at the same time, then read on.  Sometimes just sometimes, you can’t afford the organic in season produce.  I can’t always afford that but in my opinion if you eat fruits and veggies instead of corn syrup products, even though they aren’t organic its still a better choice than corn syrup.  You shouldn’t feel guilty or bad if you can’t go the organic route.  As long as you making healthier choices (if that’s your goal) that don’t include sugary things, then you should still feel good about your choices.  To many times I have seen blogs and people get so caught up in the organic route that they end up losing their message in all their judgements.  **Remember these are my thoughts and the choices I make for my family.  If someone has something to add to this discussion, then I WELCOME it.  But I don’t want to hear the judgements from my statements above.  We need to start encouraging each other instead of always bashing & judging one another****I started with Plantains & Yuccu Root.  Plantains at me local store was anywhere from $.20 to $.50 each.  If you live near a Spanish store, you will pay much less.  The Yucu root I have paid between $1.25- $2.00 for it.  With either option, you are still paying way less than you would for other produce that was in season**
Plantains can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinners, snacks, or even desserts.  Depending on how you want to make it.  I decided that this last time, I would make desserts with it.  For less than $2 I was able to make enough desserts to feed my entire family.  All I did was make a homemade dough, filled each one with plantains, cinnamon, brown sugar, a few other spices….viola homemade hand pies highlighting plantains.  Recipe is below…..For the Yuccu Root, after I took the skin off (which can be hard at first but it does get easier), I tried just boiling it.  My kids loved it so much they ate everything up.  We all agreed, that it tastes like butter, but just warning you, it is a little stringy like a banana.  As long as that texture doesn’t bother you, you will be fine.  I also put another recipe up just in case anyone wants to try these foods. **I also included in the general information on how to prepare each item so everyone know how to handle them from beginning to end at consumption.**

Before anyone asks me, yes these 2 ingredients are healthy for you.  I am including some information about these 2 items since they aren’t everyday items that people would use.  Below is some quick facts for you…………. There isn’t any excuse on trying these new foods, since you can have dinner & dessert made for around $5 which feed my family of 7.  Told you, its a great way to try new things and feed your family healthy whole foods, while saving money.  It can’t get better than that.  So go ahead, it’s your turn……………………………….

Plantains

Plantains have a number of internal health benefits. Plantains, like bananas, are a quick source of energy, according to HealthGuidance.org. Plantains can ease symptoms of a variety of ailments, including arthritis, gout, anemia, allergies, kidney stones, tuberculosis and urinary disorders. They promote digestion. And because plantains enhance calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen retention, they can assist the regeneration of healthy tissue.

Plantains are used in a variety of skin treatments. They are a commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment, according to HealthGuidance.org. Mash a quarter of a plantain and spread it on the face for 15 to 20 minutes daily. To treat skin allergies, mix a plantain with a cup of milk and drink it two to three times daily. Plantain peels can be used to treat warts; press the inside of the peel against the wart and tape it in place. When the peel turns black, remove it and repeat until the wart is gone. To treat poison ivy, apply the inside of a peel to the rash.

According to HealthGuidance.org, plantains are a mood enhancer because they contain the amino acid tryptophan. They can also help people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Plantains are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help the body and mind deal with the symptoms of withdrawal from a habit-forming substance.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/


Yuccu Root


Yucca root contains resveratrol. Resveratrol is a natural phytoalexin has proven antioxidant properties that protect the body from damage caused by oxidation. Oxidation produces free radicals that can lead to an increased potential for conditions such as heart disease. Yucca roots can help stop the buildup of oxygen free radicals, and prevent blood vessel damage.

The high saponin content of yucca roots allow its extract to dissolve in water and oil, notes Drug Digest. Once in the stomach, these saponin particles attach to cholesterol, and can assist to prevent the body from absorbing it. This allows cholesterol to easily be expelled from the body as bile. More cholesterol in your bile means less cholesterol in your bloodstream.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/158692-yucca-root-health-benefits/#ixzz2glS2b5Zv

Best Chiquita Plantain Tarts Recipe Taken From Http://Www.Chiquitabananas.Com/Banana-Recipes/Plantain-Tarts-Recipe.Aspx

Ingredients:

  • 2   unbaked prepared pie crust sheets ( I made me own)
  • 2   small, very ripe Chiquita® Plantains (peel should be mostly or all black)
  • 1/4   cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4   tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4   tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8   tsp. Salt
  • 1   Egg, beaten
  •   Sugar

Instructions For:

Best Chiquita Plantain Tarts Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll or roll out pie dough. Using a 4 to 5-inch cutter cut 8 round circles from the dough. Peel and mash plantains until very smooth. Stir in brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Place 2 tablespoons of plantain filling in the center of each round. Fold the rounds in half and crimp edges with fingers or a fork. Lightly brush tops with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry looks golden brown. Cool before serving as the filling will be very hot.

Sancocho Recipe

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (about 3 lbs)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 bay leaf
8 cups water
4 green plantains
4 potatoes (1 1/2 lbs)
4 pieces yucca (1 1/2 lbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small tomato
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 sprig thyme
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon Badia yellow powder food coloring
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Cut the chicken. In a heavy large caldero place the chicken, sprinkle with 1 1/4 tablespoon salt add 4 cups water and a bay leaf. Cook it for 20 minutes at medium heat.
Peel the plantains and using both hands give a twist make like 4 pieces and then try to make smaller pieces. Place the plantains in 4 cups of water, when the chicken is cooked add the plantains with the water. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Peel the potatoes, cut yucca and potatoes in small pieces, add to the pot. Let it cook for 10 minutes.In a nonstick pan make sofrito. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat, add chopped tomato, onion, green pepper, red pepper, minced garlic and a sprig of thyme, sprinkle with 1/4 tablespoon salt. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add cumin, saffron, and yellow color. When sofrito is ready, add it to the pot, stir mix all the ingredients. Let it cook for an additional 5 minutes, turn the heat off, add cilantro.

Read more at http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/dona_rossana_cooks_sancocho_soup#7t3phAGXHP35Akrg.99

What is a unique ingredient that you use in your recipes?

 

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